Dale Roberts and I share a deeply felt appreciation for the true gift of friendship with Roger Anliker: for his genius as a university professor, for his unbelievable talent as a painter, and for his true generosity and kindness as a human being.
I first met Roger Anliker as an sophomore at Tyler School of Art, Temple University's Art School, when I first took his painting class there in 1980. Immediately I fell under his spell. Mr. Anliker, as we all called him then, pulled us into his world of Art; introduced us to the essentials of color and composition; laid out the fundamentals of form; demonstrated the application of paint and archival technique; and moreover shared with us his enthusiasm for beauty and Art. He was everything a college professor should be--he made sure we knew the basics of the craft, and then inspired us to make beauty that would last. But he didn't stop there because his love of the subject was so profound that he made it contagious. Not only did he fulfill his commitments as a professor, but it was not uncommon for him to stand by his black board for hours after class with a few dedicated students eager to learn even more. In this way his was truly the old master with his disciples, and time stood still while we discussed Art and all the magical elements which comprised it. Both Dale and myself many times stood listening to Anliker until the wee hours of the morning, after a class which ended at four PM. Such was Anliker's love of teaching painting that time really meant nothing to him when his was waxing eloquently on Art. If he had actually charged by the hour for his time, the university would have had to treble his wages. And for a few lucky students like us, who didn't have somewhere else we had to be, we got far more than we had hoped for from Professor Anliker. Few of my other Tyler teachers equalled Mr. Anliker's depth of knowledge or dedication as a teacher, so needless to say, I took as many classes with Mr. Anliker as I could for the remainder of my time at Tyler--perhaps the smartest decision I made. He made my education there worthwhile all by himself.
But that is only half the story. Many a great teacher like Roger Anliker has left a life-long impression on his students, and been considered fantastically successful in their careers. But one needs only judge with his own eyes any of the works of Fine Art created by Mr. Anliker to know that here is an Artist of world-class status. His ingenious vision of the world, shared through his Paintings, is Magical, Mystical, Mysterious, and Marvelous. It is hard to believe that one man could be both an inspiring professor, and an Artist of such incredible talent. It is truly a double achievement. His works belong in major Art museums, and his stature as an Artist should grow and grow. It is just the way of Art that usually the greats are rarely fully appreciated during their lifetimes. I hope that his paintings will eventually be noticed by Art historians and his reputation raised to the highest level it so richly deserves.
Roger Anliker never called himself an "Artist," by the way. He considered that the definition of "Art" was "The BEST" and humbly considered it too presumptive to call oneself an "Artist" preferring history to decide that question. He said people would often ask him what he did and he would say, "I'm a Painter," when they would respond, "Oh, interior or exterior?" We all laughed at that. But I want to be the first to declare him, finally, an ARTIST--the very best of the best!
The third quality which really places Roger Anliker among the rarest of the truly blessed people among us, is the fact that he was so generous and friendly. The example of how long he would stay after class if he thought a couple students were interested to hear a little bit more says even more about his character as a person than his dedication to excellence in teaching which he had in spade-fulls. This allowed him to continue to give his knowledge and assistance to former students years after they no longer paid him any tuition fees. I had the good sense to try to keep in touch with him over the years with a phone call once in a while. I am only sorry now that I didn't do this even more. Dale certainly maintained his friendship and I think I can disclose that that friendship matured into deep mutual respect, and towards the end Dale had the opportunity to show his gratitude by doing a tremendous amount back for his mentor Roger. Theirs was a perfectly balanced relationship of gift and appreciative return; if only all human relationships could follow this loving example.
I wanted to add to the above my belief in the spiritual afterlife where I believe Roger is now regaining all his genius, after some years of mental decline, and returning to his loves of teaching and creating and sharing--in the next world. It is my wish to one day be able to stand again by his black board with him and hear him share his love of the beauty of Art until the early morning hours.
Thank you Roger. You forever have my love, my respect and my gratitude.
Keith C. Johns
September 29, 2013